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Each year thousands of couples turn to surrogates to help them start a family.
For many surrogates, it’s not the first time they’ve given birth for others.
Some choose to repeat their experience and become multiple surrogacies, like Shelly Darnell.
Darnell is a wife and mother to 6-year-old Hollie and 8-year-old Trace.
But Darnell has actually given birth to four.
Three years ago, Darnell had twins.
“I knew that it was what I was supposed to do,” she said.
She became a surrogate mother.
“It was an incredible experience,” Darnell said.
So incredible she said after four births, she’d do it again — no big deal.
“It’s a pregnancy — it’s nine months out of your life,” she said.
But those are nine months most might not even dream of ever doing.
It’s called multiple surrogacies: women who choose to become a surrogate more than once.
And you might be surprised to hear the practice is not all that uncommon.
That’s according to Kathy Stern, who heads up one of two surrogacy agencies in Houston.
“We have quite a few surrogates who do decide to repeat,” Stern said.
In fact, of Stern’s hundreds of clients, she said one out of every four will surrogate again, some twice or three times.
“I think they enjoy the experience the first time, so they want to recapture that,” Stern said.
Surrogates like Shelly Darnell are paid anywhere between $18,000 to $22,000, but Stern insists it’s not about the money as some might be quick to assume.
“We rule out anybody we feel like is doing this strictly for money motivation,” Stern said.
Darnell’s motivation came after watching so many other women struggle with having children and knowing she could make a difference.
“All it took was nine months to help someone have what I have,” Darnell said.
Still, as she would love to surrogate again, complications from carrying the twins means Darnell will no longer be able to give birth again.
But she has no regrets, and it appears that other multiple surrogates don’t either.